Enormous freshwater aquifer discovered off the American east coast

Enormous aquifer with enough fresh water to fill a 15,000-mile lake discovered on the east coast of the US.

  • A giant underwater aquifer has been discovered by scientists
  • The rediscovered reserve contains enough water to fill a 15,000 square meter lake
  • It can help to open up a critical supply of fresh water to areas affected by drought
  • The water was stuck between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago, experts say
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Scientists say that a huge freshwater aquifer discovered off the US coast can help reduce water crises in North America and abroad.

In a study led by Columbia University scientists, the researchers say the gigantic subterranean aquifer stretches at least from New Jersey to Massachusetts and extends out into the ocean and reaches the edge of the continental shelf.

Scientists say that if the water in the aquifers were a lake at ground level, it would cover approximately 15,000 square miles.

A huge reserve of fresh water has been confirmed off the US coast, hidden beneath the surface. The size is plotted in the hash area of ​​the above map

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A huge reserve of fresh water has been confirmed off the US coast, hidden beneath the surface. The size is plotted in the hash area of ​​the above map

The research, published in the scientific journal Journal, hopes, among other things, that similar aquifers may lie off the coast of other land masses around the world and may be a much-needed supply of fresh water for drought-affected communities.

The study, based on surveys from the team that started in 2015, confirms theories that date back to the 1970s when oil companies reported on finding fresh water during offshore drilling.

Unknown to companies at the time, the relatively small boreholes that had been drilled in the ocean floor were the first trip to a huge underground lake.

& # 39; We knew there was fresh water in isolated places, but we didn't know the size or geometry & # 39 ;, said lead author Chloe Gustafson, a PhD. candidate in the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in a statement.

& # 39; It can become an important resource in other parts of the world. & # 39;

To map the aquifer, researchers dropped a machine in the ocean that then propelled electromagnetic waves under the seabed.

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Because salt water is a better conductor of electromagnetic energy, scientists were able to measure the existence of fresh water based on conductivity – the less conductivity, the lower the salt content.

What scientists found were deposits of fresh water that far exceeded their expectations.

Scientists hope fresh water can help combat extreme drought in regions such as California, where average temperatures have risen. File photo

Scientists hope fresh water can help combat extreme drought in regions such as California, where average temperatures have risen. File photo

Scientists hope fresh water can help combat extreme drought in regions such as California, where average temperatures have risen. File photo

In some cases, the researchers say, the water starts at about 600 feet and extends 1,200 feet below ground and just as far as 75 miles into the continental shelf.

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Water was somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago under the ocean floor, via a tandem of processes according to scientists.

In one scenario, the water began to accumulate when the sea level was much lower via rain water, rivers, and even glacier ice. As the sea level rose and brought with it an increasing amount of sediment, that water may be trapped under the surface.

In addition, scientists say the aquifers were able to grow by draining the land. Rainwater and other fresh water is pushed into the sea and is absorbed by the aquifer into the aquifer because of the fluctuating tides – the ebb and flow create an effect that resembles a sponge squeeze.

Regardless of how the water ended up there, scientists are already thinking about how it can be used in the future. To fully use the source for drinking water, researchers say it should undergo a certain desalination.

In contrast to pure salt water, however, because the water is usually considered fresh, desalination – often annoying and expensive – would be a much simpler process.

HOW BIG IS THE AQUIFER DISCOVERED FROM THE US COAST?

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Scientists say that a huge freshwater aquifer discovered off the US coast can help reduce water crises in North America and abroad.

The aquifer stretches from the coast, at least from Massachusetts to New Jersey, and extends continuously about 50 miles to the edge of the continental shelf.

If it is found on the surface, it would create a lake of approximately 15,000 square miles.

Researchers who have investigated the aquifer with electromagnetic waves say that the deposits are more or less continuous, starting at the coastline and far into the continental shelf.

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In some cases it extends to 75 miles. Usually the deposition starts at around 600 feet below the bottom of the ocean, and at the bottom at around 1,200 feet.

They estimate that the region contains at least 670 cubic kilometers of fresh water.

The water has probably fallen under the seabed in two different ways, the researchers say. Around 15,000 to 20,000 years ago, towards the end of the last glacial era.

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